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Leader Productivity: Ten Tips to Tame the Technology Onslaught

By Dr. Geri Markel On 

Is Technology Taking Over Your Life?

The increasing amount of technology used in modern offices means that people have to contend with more distractions and interruptions than ever before. These interruptions adversely affect productivity and stress levels.  As communication is likely to increase significantly over the next few years, you need to find ways now to reduce distraction and interruption levels in your work/life.

Some studies indicate our compulsion to touch phones all day. However, most people are using their phones and other devices for short times throughout the day.

There is no doubt that phones, computers, and tablets are required to complete critical job-related tasks. However, regardless of the degree to which technology helps, it often distracts and interrupts your focus and concentration.

Attacked by the digital devices, your focus, memory, and organizational skills unravel. Your productivity goes down and your stress goes up. Similar to other important aspects of life, the use of self-management strategies disallows technology from sabotaging our efforts to attain leader effectiveness.

How do you reduce the distraction technology creates?

You can apply practical, research-based strategies to reduce technology-related distractions. As you manage you use or overuse of technology, you will increase your efficiency and enjoy greater peace of mind. Start small and talk to others about methods to reduce the bombardment of unnecessary distractions.

Here are 10 tips:

  1. Increase your awareness. Although you are aware of the frustration and stress related to technology, you may be unaware of the costs associated with it. For example, interruptions from technology and others consume 2.1 hours a day or 28% of the workday. Ask, “How much time, energy, and money do distractions and interruptions cost me each day?
  2. Develop a plan to deal with voicemail and email. We live in a society that pressures us to respond immediately to all messages. For example, if you conduct a planned call, it takes about 5 minutes, but if you conduct a call and do not plan for it, it can take about 12 minutes. Once you are aware of the time saving nature of planned calls, you can carve out more time in the day for completing other tasks—or for taking a rest. Think about it. If you save 5 minutes per call on 12 calls a day, then you have a full hour to do something else.
  3. Don’t buy into the myth of multitasking. Newest research reveals that you can’t effectively do two things simultaneously. In most cases, it is best to do one thing at a time, especially if you need to use critical thinking skills.
  4. Stop over using and abusing technological gadgets. Keep track of the amount of time you waste on the social media, phone, and other device. Ask, “Am I allowing technology to distract me from completing basic responsibilities?”
  5. Create effective routines and habits. Set times when you are most alert to deal with the essential or urgent tasks. Batch nonessential tasks and do those at a separate time.
  6. Use positive assertive skills. Start by recognizing that it’s okay to speak up and defend your right to non-distracting think Learn to say no nicely. Practice your new skills in non-threatening situations first. Schedule a few specific times for reading and responding to emails and voice mails. Ask, “Must I be available to every person, every minute, every day?”
  7. Impose an electronic lock-down for at least 15 to 20 minutes per day. Avoid using the computer or cell phone during meals or just prior to going to sleep. Ensure some quiet time each day for problem solving and creative thought.
  8. Increase the number of breaks you take while working on your computer. Include periodic eye breaks, since staring at a screen is tiring. Your reading rate is approximately 25 percent slower when reading text on a computer screen.
  9. Schedule some specific times for interruptions. Alert others about the times during which you are available to discuss matters or solve problems.
  10. Increase the time spent while in your car without talking on the cell phone. If you are bored while driving, try listening to an audio book or programs previously recorded on iTunes.

You and other staff can use strategies to exert greater control over technology, enhance productivity, and suffer less stress. Team up to reduce unnecessary emails and phone calls. When save a few minutes a day, you feel greater control and have more time.


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